How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap

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Making homemade cleaners is one of the easiest ways to save money in your home. Did you know you can even make homemade laundry soap for practically pennies?

I’ve been making this laundry soap for over a decade, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much money that has saved me in all those years.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap and save a ton! $$$ Find out how from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

To make this Homemade Laundry Soap You Will Need:

  • 1 (4 or 5 gallon) bucket with a lid. You can get one at the hardware store, or re-use one from something else, such as an emptied wheat bucket or even a kitty litter pail.
  • a bar of Fels Naptha soap (You’ll actually only need 2/3 of the bar)
  • Borax
  • Washing Soda (NOT baking soda)
  • Water
  • grater
  • An old pot and spoon

The borax, washing soda and Fels Naptha can all be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store.

To begin, grate 2/3 of the bar of Fels Naptha soap. Put the grated soap into an old pot (I just grate it directly into the pot.)

How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap and save a ton! $$$ Find out how from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

To that, add 1 cup each of Borax and Washing Soda

How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap and save a ton! $$$ Find out how from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

To the mixture, add a gallon of water.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap and save a ton! $$$ Find out how from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

Place the pot on your stove. Stir this together over low heat until the soap is all dissolved.

****Whatever you do, do NOT let this boil over, or you will have the biggest mess in human history!!!

Don’t ask me how I know.

Or ask. It’s okay. I’ve since recovered.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap and save a ton! $$$ Find out how from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

When the soap is dissolved, pour it all into the bucket with another 3 gallons of water.

Stir it all together.

Put your lid on the bucket and set it in your laundry room. Let it rest undisturbed overnight.

The next day, you will have a goopy, jelly mixture. It will look slimy and weird, but that’s normal. Before using, give it a good stir.

How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap and save a ton! $$$ Find out how from Cosmopolitan Cornbread

For an average load of laundry, I use 1/2 to 1 cup of the soap. This soap is low sudsing (or practically suds-free) and perfectly safe for high efficiency washers.

This makes a LOT of laundry soap, and this batch will last my family months!!

Variations to this Homemade Laundry Soap:

The Ivory Soap Version

Instead of using 2/3 of a bar of Fels Naptha soap, you can also use two whole bars of Ivory soap. It may not be quite as cost effective, but works equally well.

The Dry Version:

Rather than making this as a liquid laundry soap, you can also do this as a dry version.

To do that, combine all of the grated soap, borax and washing soda in a food processor or blender, and pulse until the grated soap is like powder.

Store it in an airtight container.

When you do a load of laundry, you’ll only need a tablespoon of the mixture.

I personally prefer the liquid/jelly method because if you miss pieces of soap in the blending process, they may not dissolve fully in the laundry. I always wash clothes on cold, so maybe that is why.

Have you ever made homemade laundry soap? Have a different way of making it? I’d love to hear about it.

Share your technique in the comments below!

20 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Laundry Soap”

  1. I’ve used this “recipe” for laudry detergent for years. I like how it DOES NOT fade colors and can be used with any fabric. It cleans the clothes well, very well. When I have whites, I add a quarter scoop of Tide OXI clean and … I have the laundry done at a fraction of the cost of store bought laundry detergent. I make 4 of the 5 gal buckets at the time, that way I don’t have to repeat the process for over a year and the cost is less than $10 for 20 gallons.

    • Mine gels all the time. I place my 5 gal buckets in the bathtub, I’ll mix it in the evening and by next morning it’s ready to be stirred, closed and taken in my laundry room. It tends to form a center big jelled blob… I just stir it up before using. No problem!

  2. I have been wanting to do this for a long time. Now I will! Cant find the Fels Naptha but I already have Ivory bar soap. I have made my own laundry softener for pennies per load and have done that for YEARS! Saving money is my goal.

  3. I timed making a batch From starting to grate the soap till starting a batch of laundry took 20 min. In a household of two, it lasted 2 years. It’s pennies per load.
    Also, no need to put a full gallon in the pot to risk boiling over. Half that works just as well and is easier to manage. Boils quicker too.

  4. I’ve tried making the dry version before and didn’t feel like it cleaned my clothes as well as a tide does. Is it all in my head? Has anyone done an experiment to find what cleans better? Also, the mess and all the work and clean up seems a bit much. How much are we actually saving?
    I buy a big thing of Tide at Costco and it last my family of four about a month. It costs $30. Thoughts and feedback appreciated. I’d love for this to work for us as I love making scratch meals and such by hand.

    • I have heard that some people have issues with it if they have hard water. I have used this since around 2006 without issue. I use a splash of vinegar in the rinse instead of dryer sheets or fabric softener. One batch of this lasts me about 6 months, and when I do the break down of price, it costs me about $2.10 to make a batch. That works out to $ .35 a month. Definitely worth it!

      • Tide not good for your washer in the 1st place that’s why they give it aways with washers. It’s mostly water. So think about it. It builds up on your clothes. Try rinsing your clothes out a few times by hand and see how much soap is still in them using tide. Rinse repeat rinse repeat.

    • I make a big batch and I use vinegar as my fabric softener. It cleans great and we have hard water. I made the dry soap. One of the problems with Tide is that it is full of Phosphates that strip your clothes. But are also bad for the environment.

  5. I have made made my own dry version of the laundry soap with a few additions. I add scented “beads” just for a nice smell and I add a oxiclean powder also. My recipe for soap came from the farmer’s almanac. My daughter used this when she went to college and first on her own for money savings. I have not tried the liquid soap but I do prefer liquid to powder. I just read the tip of dissolving the powder in a cup of warm water. Great idea!

  6. I have been using this recipe for 4 years and will never go back to store bought. I find one bucket will last me and the family for 6 months. I also add about 10 drops of essential oils to give it a nicer smell.

  7. If you don’t like dry laundry detergent and don’t have time to make the liquid version, dissolve the tablespoon of dry in a cup of warm water, then pour into a tub of water, agitate a little and load up.


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